|Case Forum:||Michigan Supreme Court|
|Keywords:||Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA), Public Health Code, marijuana, ambiguous, plain meaning|
Gerald A. Fisher (P13462) | 6745 Parke Lake Drive | Clarkston, MI 48346
1. Michigan Townships Association (MTA)
The MMMA allows qualifying patients to have access to the “medical use” of marijuana. §4 of the Act establishes a caregiver-patient structure in which the patient uses the medical marihuana, and the caregiver assists the patient with their marihuana use under extensive regulations. Amicus counsel argues that the structure and terms of §4 of the MMMA are ambiguous; therefore, the Court must interpret and determine the intent of the provisions in order to achieve internal consistency within the Act. The §4 provisions involving the term “medical use” are ambiguous and therefore create inconsistencies with the intent of the Act. “Medical use” as used within the Act means the common sense definition of “use,” otherwise the caregiver-patient structure of the Act would be meaningless. Also, patient-to-patient transactions are prohibited because patients are not restricted like caregivers are, and allowing them would compromise the caregiver-patient structure of the Act. Amicus counsel further argues that there is an interpretation of the §4 provisions that is consistent with the rules of statutory construction, is consistent with common usage of “medical use,” achieves internal consistency within the Act, and carries out the intent and purpose of the Act. When interpreting a statute, the courts must avoid an interpretation that would render a section null, or cause unreasonable results that would harm the public interest. Also, the provisions of the statute must be interpreted to carry out the intent and purpose of the Act, and to be consistent within the Act. Interpreting “medical use” as meaning the expansive definition of the phrase would allow patients to circumvent the restrictions placed on caregivers and engage in patient-to-patient transactions, which renders the caregiver-patient structure meaningless, is absurd, is contrary to the intent of the Act, and is inconsistent within the Act.
The Supreme Court held:
|MSC requested LDF amicus brief?||No|
Defendants own and operate Compassionate Apothecary, LLC (CA), a medical marihuana dispensary. CA members, who are either registered qualifying patients or their primary caregivers, purchase marijuana that other CA members have stored in lockers rented from CA. Through their operation of CA, defendants provide the mechanism for the sale of marijuana and retain at least 20 percent of the sale price. Plaintiff, through the Isabella County Prosecuting Attorney, filed a complaint against defendants for injunctive relief. It claimed that defendants’ operation of CA was not in accordance with the provisions of the MMMA and, therefore, was a public nuisance because it violated the Public Health Code (PHC), MCL 333.1101 et seq.